Cameryn Blake remembers January 21, 2017 in vivid detail. On that day she was cheerleading at a high school basketball game. When halftime rolled around, she got some news that gave her another reason to cheer – she had been accepted to her dream school, the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). She nearly fell from the bleachers in excitement.
“I always wanted to do something in my life that would involve me creating something,” Blake says. “DAAP represented everything that I wanted to learn.”
Blake says DAAP’s cooperative education program, which gives students real-world career experience with companies, drew her to the school. Co-op at DAAP has received national recognition, and students benefit from the ability to build their portfolios and earn a paycheck while in school.
“By the time I graduate, I will have at least five internships completed. It’s a great feeling,” she explains.
DAAP is tailor-made for Blake. The fashion design major has been sketching since she was a child and has always had a passion for design. It’s a passion she says her parents encouraged her to pursue.
“My mom used to take me to Target and purchase Croquis sketchbooks that I would fill,” Blake says. The fashion figure sketchbooks, named after the French word for Croquis, provided endless entertainment and a training ground for her future.
For her designs, Blake finds inspiration everywhere. One sketch was influenced by osteoporosis, the disease that affects bone density, which she learned about from her mother, who is a nurse. Other sketches she did after her great-grandmother died from dementia, with elements mirroring the brain atrophy that is characteristic of the illness. Still others are inspired by hip hop music – specifically by artists like Tyler the Creator or Jay-Z.
“Music inspires me and also controls the pace in which I’m sketching,” she explains.
While a world-class education is what attracted her to DAAP, Blake also appreciates the financial support that UC donors have made possible. She has earned The Achiever’s Scholarship since freshman year, which provides $3,000 per semester.
“The scholarship that I have received has allowed me to have a vision and to see it come into fruition,” she says.
Blake also is looking forward to using the donor-funded Fashion Technology Center, which opened last year and provides students access to the latest technological advancements in the fashion industry and the opportunity explore various design-making avenues.
“I’m really interested in product development and textile innovation. I think the lab is going to help me to learn more about the functionality of fashion. The advanced pattern-making software available in the lab is exciting,” she says.
Blake is on track to graduate in 2022 and has admirable plans for her future.
“I want to give back with fashion,” Blake says. “I want to help others, which for me means giving others a permission to have a voice – an artistic voice – and use their personal experiences through their art.”
Featured image at top: Cameryn Blake Photo: Jacyln Poeschl/UC Foundation.